by Judy Kim
Plum Tomato and Gruyère Tart
Yield: 1 (9.5-inch) Tart
This is a tart that you will want to make multiples of. It is great as an appetizer or a light lunch served with a green salad. I use the step sister to the popular heirloom tomato variety, the plum tomato. While heirloom tomatoes are beautiful due to their interesting shapes and colors, plum tomatoes are equally great during peak season and more often found off-season.
Single crust Buttermilk Pie Dough
All-purpose flour, for rolling
1 ½ pounds plum tomatoes (about 5 to 6), sliced thinly, about ¼-inch rounds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces freshly grated gruyere cheese
1 large garlic clove, finely grated
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh basil, for garnish
Prepare the double pie crust recipe, which can be made in advance, save the other half for later or make 2 tomato tarts. If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Let pie dough come to room temperature, about 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out round disk to ¼-inch thickness. Keep dough moving and apply just enough flour to prevent it from sticking. Gently fold into quarters and transfer onto 10-inch tart pan. Carefully push the pastry into the corners and sides of the tart pan using the flat side of your index finger while avoiding stretching the dough. Use rolling pin to trim excess pastry, transfer excess to refrigerator for an optional decorative design.
Lay sliced tomatoes in a single layer on a prepared half sheet pan with paper towels, season with salt; set aside to drain excess water, about 10 minutes. Blot top of tomatoes just before using.
Place oven rack in middle with Baking Steel or a pizza stone and preheat oven to 400°F.
In a medium bowl, combine cheese, garlic, thyme and ½ teaspoon black pepper; spread cheese mixture evenly inside the tart shell. Place tomatoes in an overlapping design until the surface is covered.
Place the tart on a rimmed sheet pan and just before baking, lightly brush pastry with egg wash. Cover only the crust loosely with foil and bake directly on the Baking Steel or pizza stone. Bake for 10 minutes and remove the foil; continue baking until tomatoes are tender and crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Transfer to a wire cooling rack for 15 minutes. Finish with drizzle of olive oil, cracked black pepper and chopped or torn fresh basil. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Leave crust plain, place in freezer until ready to use.
Using a butter knife, score edge of pastry on a diagonal all the way around. Place in freezer for 15 minutes or until ready to use.
Before freezing the tart pan, flatten the top rim of the pastry by pushing your thumb and index finger around the edges; chill in freezer. Roll chilled excess pastry to 1/8-inch thickness, cover both sides generously with flour and cut with pie cutters in various leaf shapes. Place leaves in a single layer on a rimmed sheet pan sprinkled with flour. Chill until frozen. Apply frozen pastry leaf cut outs with egg wash; partially cover the edge in a loose pattern of leaves or create a full wreath crown over the entire circumference. Place in freezer until ready to use.